What is your strategy for using digital interaction data to enhance the customer experience?Published: Friday, 5 January 2018 by Joe Cripps, Product Manager
As discussed in one of our previous blog posts, a recent Forrester Consulting study commissioned by Celebrus revealed that: - 88% of companies have a strategy for integrating data across multiple customer touch-points…but…- 63% experience difficulties in tracking and recognising customers across digital sessions.
This leads me to an inevitable conclusion - large numbers of organisations are using ineffective strategies for integrating customer data from multiple sources. But what is to blame within their strategy?
Strategic advice for integrating cross channel data
In all fairness, the 88% of companies who report having an omnichannel strategy to integrate data, are undertaking a considerable challenge. For example, it is extremely difficult to integrate data captured from web sessions with information in a completely different format from a series of calls to contact centres in various locations. It is also no mean feat to keep track of a customer’s in-store and online purchases, while maintaining a record of their subscription preferences for e-mail and text communications. To take this information from dozens of sources (maybe even hundreds!), each delivering data in a different format, process it, standardise it and update or consolidate existing information that you hold for that individual, is enough to give any CIO a major headache! If you consider the need to do all of this on a global scale, for millions of customers and then throw in the thorny issue of GDPR compliance, the CIO’s headache is starting to look more like a raging migraine.
It’s too late now of course, but when we commissioned this study I really wish we’d asked Forrester to add another question to their list: ‘Did you underestimate the task of tracking customers across channels?’. A bit leading perhaps but I bet the vast majority of those who reported experiencing difficulties in tracking and recognising customers across channels would admit to having underestimated the challenge. The fact is it’s difficult to accurately scope data projects of this nature and it’s common for unforeseen complications to arise when organisations start to roll out their strategy.
Very often organisations get into difficulties because they assume that their existing architecture will be sufficient to perform the complex and specialised data processing tasks I outlined earlier in this post. If you have invested heavily in best-in-class enterprise data management, web analytics, CRM or digital marketing hub solutions, it’s understandable to expect these solutions to do the ‘simple’ job of bringing in and consolidating data from different sources. Not only do organisations want to avoid the cost of acquiring additional software, but they are wary of adding further complexity to their enterprise architecture.
The problem is, data management and CRM tools were not designed to integrate data from an array of different sources – they rely on data being provided in a standardised format. Similarly, web and mobile analytics tools were not specifically designed to capture data across digital channels. Organisations who attempt to ‘make do’ with these tools are leaving themselves open to problems both with collecting customer information and in experiencing data inconsistency and incompatibility.
The acid test for your data integration strategy
Ultimately, a strategy is nothing more than a plan designed to achieve an objective. If you, like 63% of the respondents to our Forrester study, are experiencing difficulties tracking customers across touchpoints, then ask yourself if you have the right tools for the job.
- Are you able to consistently collect data across digital channels?
- Are you able to recognise known customers and update the data you already have for them?
- Can you add data from offline sources to this information?
- Is there a single source of truth for your customer information, or in fact do different versions of the truth reside in different platforms?
- Can you easily and quickly import this data into the systems that you rely on to deliver a personalised customer experience?
If you are committed to enhancing the value you gain from cross channel data and the answer to any of the questions above is no, then perhaps you need a dedicated platform to manage the collection and integration of your customer data. Click here to learn how a Customer Data Platform (CDP) can manage collection, processing and delivery of the most detailed and accurate customer data to the enterprise systems you use and provide a personalised experience for your customers.
Alternatively, please do get in touch if you would like to discuss with a member of the Celebrus team any of the points that I’ve raised in this post.
LinkedIn: Joe Cripps